Sun Oct 20 7:52pm ET
By TERESA M. WALKER
AP Pro Football Writer
Tennessee Titans defenders Tennessee Titans defenders Jeffery Simmons (98) and Jurrell Casey (99) celebrate after stopping the Los Angeles Chargers on their final drive of the game in the fourth quarter of an NFL football game Sunday, Oct. 20, 2019, in Nashville, Tenn. The Titans won 23-20. (AP Photo/James Kenney)
Los Angeles Chargers running back Austin Ekeler, right, celebrates with Mike Williams (81) after Ekeler scored a touchdown against the Tennessee Titans on a 41-yard pass play in the fourth quarter of an NFL football game Sunday, Oct. 20, 2019, in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/James Kenney)
Tennessee Titans head coach Mike Vrabel, right argues about the placement of the ball late in the fourth quarter of an NFL football game against the Los Angeles Chargers Sunday, Oct. 20, 2019, in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/James Kenney)
Los Angeles Chargers defenders celebrate after stopping the Tennessee Titans on a fourth-down play late in the fourth quarter of an NFL football game Sunday, Oct. 20, 2019, in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/James Kenney)
Tennessee Titans running back Derrick Henry (22) scores a touchdown on an 11-yard run against the Los Angeles Chargers in the second half of an NFL football game Sunday, Oct. 20, 2019, in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/James Kenney)
Tennessee Titans wide receiver Tajae Sharpe (19) celebrates with Adam Humphries (10) and Taylor Lewan, left, after Sharpe scored a touchdown against the Los Angeles Chargers in the second half of an NFL football game Sunday, Oct. 20, 2019, in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Mark Zaleski)
Tennessee Titans quarterback Ryan Tannehill (17) is sacked by Los Angeles Chargers defensive end Joey Bosa and defensive tackle Jerry Tillery (99) in the second half of an NFL football game Sunday, Oct. 20, 2019, in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/James Kenney)
Los Angeles Chargers running back Melvin Gordon (25) is congratulated by quarterback Philip Rivers, right, after Gordon scored a touchdown against the Tennessee Titans in the first half of an NFL football game Sunday, Oct. 20, 2019, in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/James Kenney)
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) Jurrell Casey recovered a fumble by Melvin Gordon at the goal line with 15 seconds left, and the Tennessee Titans pulled out a 23-20 victory Sunday over the Los Angeles Chargers after a frantic finish.
Gordon initially was ruled down shy of the goal line at the 1. Casey came out of the pile with the ball, and the Titans started celebrating. The play was reviewed and overturned the on-field ruling that Gordon was short of the goal line.
The call was a fumble forced by Titans linebacker Wesley Woodyard that was recovered by Casey for a touchback. Ryan Tannehill knelt down to run out the clock as the Titans (3-4) snapped a two-game skid.
The Chargers thought they had scored the go-ahead touchdown not once but twice in the final 44 seconds only to lose both on review by the replay official. That official also overturned Gordon being stopped on the Chargers' final play.
First, Philip Rivers' pass that Austin Ekeler took 16 yards was ruled a touchdown only to be reversed by the replay official for not breaking the plane as he was tackled by Kenny Vaccaro and Logan Ryan. After a false start, Malcolm Butler then was flagged for defensive pass interference on Mike Williams in the end zone.
Then Gordon went over right tackle with 34 seconds left for what officials ruled a 1-yard TD, and the replay official then reversed the call for the second time. Gordon ran again stopped by Jeffery Simmons and Rashaan Evans for no gain. That set up Gordon's final run with 19 seconds left.
Tannehill threw for 312 yards and two touchdowns in his first start since the Titans benched Marcus Mariota looking for a spark on offense after losing four of their past five overall. Tannehill came through as the Titans not only won their first game at home this season but posted a season-high 403 yards. He was 23 of 29 to outduel Rivers on a day the 16-year veteran moved to sixth in career passing yards.
The Chargers (2-5) have lost three straight and five of their past six.
Rivers and the Chargers thought they had pulled off an amazing comeback after trailing 23-13 with 6:39 left. Rivers threw a 41-yard TD pass to Ekeler with 5:09 left. The Chargers stopped Tannehill short on fourth-and-inches near midfield, and Los Angeles Rivers put the Chargers ahead with a 16-yard TD pass to Ekeler inside the final minute. But Ekeler was ruled down short of the goal line to set up an astounding final minute of the game.
Rivers finished throwing for 329 yards and two TDs.
Simmons, the No. 19 pick overall in the April draft, also made his NFL debut with a sack and a tackle for loss.
Tannehill threw an 8-yard TD pass to Corey Davis just before halftime, and he hit Tajae Sharpe on a 5-yard TD pass with 13:11 left. Derrick Henry put Tennessee up 23-13 with 6:39 left with an 11-yard TD run.
The Titans held the Chargers to a pair of field goals by rookie Chase McLaughlin in the first half.
The Chargers already were banged up on the offensive line with center Mike Pouncey out for the season and left tackle Russell Okung trying to work his way back from the non-football injury list with blood clots. Then left guard Forrest Lamp hurt an ankle midway through the second quarter and was carted from the sideline to the locker room. Dan Feeney moved from center to guard, and Scott Quessenberry came in at center.
The Titans lost right tackle Jack Conklin early to an injured right thigh early, and Dennis Kelly replaced him. Jamil Douglas started the third quarter at right guard with rookie Nate Davis hurting a rib. Linebacker Rashaan Evans left late in the first half only to return for the second half. Cornerback Adoree Jackson hurt a foot in the third quarter.
Chargers: Continue their two-game road swing at Chicago on Sunday.
Titans: Host Tampa Bay on Sunday.
Las Vegas Raiders head coach Jon Gruden had some nice things to say about quarterback Derek Carr on Thursday. "I love what Derek Carr did, love what he brings to our team and anxious to continue to build around him," Gruden said. "I really think Derek is a heck of a player and I got a lot of respect for what he has done with some tough circumstances." Carr's future with the Raiders is in question with rumors connecting Las Vegas to Tom Brady, who will become a free agent next month. Carr had a career-high 70.4 completion percentage and threw for a career-high 4,054 yards with 21 touchdowns and eight interceptions in 2019. Still, that might've been more of a ceiling for Carr, and the Raiders would love to make a splash in their new home with Brady. If Carr remains the team's QB going into 2020, he'll serve as a low-ceiling QB2.
New York Giants tight end Rhett Ellison (head) is considering retirement after missing the last six games of the 2019 season because of a concussion, according to three NFL sources. The 31-year-old has 67 catches for 674 yards and four touchdowns in 40 games with the Giants and also spent five years with the Vikings. He has a $7.18 million salary cap hit in 2020 with $5 million in savings and only $2.18 million in dead money if he's released or retires. Ellison's contract will need to be reworked if he decides to continue playing. A blocking-first tight end, Ellison is unlikely to have much fantasy appeal next season if he decides against hanging up his cleats.
Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said that linebacker Leighton Vander Esch (neck) is "100 percent in my eyes." Vander Esch is expected to be a full participant by the start of training camp this summer after having his 2019 season cut short due to neck issues that required surgery. It's great news that LVE is progressing nicely, but we'll keep an eye on his progress this spring. If healthy, he's a game-changer in the middle of the defense for the Cowboys, as he proved in his rookie year in 2018. Vander Esch will come at a discount in IDP leagues this fall and could be a nice value pick if he stays on the field.
New York Giants tight end Evan Engram (foot) remains in a walking boot after having surgery in late December. The Giants must decide by May whether to pick up Engram's fifth-year option for the 2021 season. He's expected to be sidelined until training camp and has missed 14 games due to injury in his three seasons in the league. The 25-year-old played in just eight games in 2019 and had a career-low 44 catches for 467 yards and three touchdowns. He has high-end tight end potential when he's healthy, but his injuries make him a high-risk, high-reward fantasy selection moving forward.
The Dallas Cowboys met with wide receiver Amari Cooper's representatives on Thursday night, according to a source. The Cowboys want to reach long-term deals with both Cooper and quarterback Dak Prescott. Talks with Cooper should intensify before the start of free agency on March 18, but the transition tag is likely off the table. If the Cowboys use the franchise tag on Prescott, who is the bigger priority, there's a good chance that Cooper reaches the open market. He was a top-10 fantasy wideout in 2019 despite fighting through nagging injuries for much of the season. If he stays with Prescott in Dallas, Cooper will remain a strong WR1.
Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said that defensive end Robert Quinn is "the real deal" and is "hopeful that we can do something to keep him." Quinn's contract is set to expire on March 18. The 29-year-old had 11.5 sacks in his first year in Dallas, but there's a good chance he'll reach the open market. He was a Pro Bowler in 2013-14 and was a first-team All-Pro for the Rams in 2013 when he recorded a career-high 19 sacks. The Cowboys have other pressing business in trying to re-sign both quarterback Dak Prescott and wide receiver Amari Cooper to long-term extensions.
Updating a previous report, New England Patriots impending free-agent quarterback Tom Brady doesn't have an offer from the Patriots, but it's not a huge surprise without a new collective bargaining agreement at this time. However, Brady is in the Patriots plans for the 2020 season. Brady's agent is in Indianapolis this week and is talking with other teams, too. If the Patriots don't work something out with the future Hall of Famer, the Chargers and Raiders are expected to make a run at him, with the Titans also a potential landing spot. Where Brady lands will be the biggest storyline of the offseason. He looked his age in 2019 with a mediocre supporting cast on offense, and fantasy owners can't count on him as a surefire QB1 moving forward, regardless of whether he leaves New England.
The Washington Redskins have had good conversations with left tackle Trent Williams, but the team's attempt to bring him back in 2020 is an ongoing process, according to head coach Ron Rivera. Williams is heading into the last year of his contract and has told the team that he either wants his contract redone or to be traded, according to sources familiar with the situation. The 'Skins have pushed the situation to the backburner with the draft and free agency approaching, so it's still possible that Williams won't be back with Washington in 2020 and beyond. The 31-year-old seven-time Pro Bowler would be a huge asset on the blind side for developing quarterback Dwayne Haskins, but it remains to be seen if the two sides can work something out.
The New England Patriots have yet to reach out to impending free-agent quarterback Tom Brady about a new contract. The Patriots still have time to discuss re-signing Brady, but it's a noteworthy development during the scouting combine this week. Meanwhile Brady's agent, Don Yee, is meeting with quarterback-needy teams at the combine this week. There are rumblings that Brady is likely to land with another team this offseason, with the Titans, Raiders and Chargers being the most likely destinations. For obvious reasons, Brady's free-agent storyline will be the biggest to follow in the coming weeks. He was lacking aerial weapons in 2019 and his arm strength isn't what it used to be, but he could bounce back in 2020.
Washington Redskins head coach Ron Rivera said that linebacker Ryan Kerrigan and offensive guard Brandon Scherff are both in the team's plans for 2020. The Redskins have also started contract talks with Scherff and his representation. If a deal isn't struck with Scherff, the franchise tag is a possibility. Kerrigan wasn't able to play in a full season for the first time in his career in 2019, playing in 12 games and recording career lows in tackles (25), sacks (5.5) and forced fumbles (one). He's had double-digit sack totals each of the previous three seasons and could bounce back if he stays on the field in 2020. Scherff was the fifth overall pick in 2015 and graded out as one of the top guards in the NFL in 2019.
The Indianapolis Colts and New York Giants are among the teams that could have interest in Seattle Seahawks impending free-agent pass-rusher Jadeveon Clowney, according to sources. Clowney has a long history of injuries in his six-year career, playing a full season just once in 2017 with the Texans, but he's among the most talented and feared pass-rushers in the league when he's healthy and hitting on all cylinder. The 27-year-old had 31 tackles (21 solo), three sacks, four forced fumbles, two fumble recoveries, an interception and a touchdown in 13 games for Seattle last year. Both the Colts and Giants have a serious need for pass-rushing help.
Green Bay Packers tight end Robert Tonyan Jr. (core) underwent core muscle surgery in Philadelphia, according to his agent, Jack Bechta. Tonyan was bothered by the injury all year and wasn't able to run the same. In his second season in the NFL in 2019, he had just 10 receptions for 100 yards and a touchdown in 11 games played. Even with Marcedes Lewis a free agent, Tonyan is behind Jimmy Graham and Jace Sternberger on the tight end depth chart and won't have much fantasy appeal heading into the 2020 season.
The Kansas City Chiefs will use the franchise tag on defensive tackle Chris Jones, according to sources. The Chiefs view him in their long-term plans and want to keep him paired with Frank Clark on the defensive line for years to come. The 25-year-old is an excellent run-stuffer up the middle and helped the Chiefs win the Super Bowl in his fourth season with the team after being a second-round pick in 2016. Jones finished with 36 tackles (23 solo), nine sacks, one forced fumble and a fumble recovery in 13 regular season games in 2019. He'll be due around $15.5 million under the franchise tag in 2020.
ESPN's Jeff Darlington said on GetUpESPN that he'd now be surprised if New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady re-signed with the team in free agency. "Im now at the point where I would be stunned if Tom Brady went back to New England," Darlington said. The two teams being discussed with the best chances of landing Brady seem to be the Titans and the Raiders. If Tennessee goes after Brady, it means that they will let Ryan Tannehill walk in free agency. The Raiders have soured on Derek Carr and are looking to make a splash in their first year in Las Vegas. The Chargers could be a dark-horse candidate after they moved on from Philip Rivers. Brady is at the end of his career and probably shouldn't be drafted as a QB1 in fantasy, especially if he lands with the run-first Titans.
The Buffalo Bills have talked with free-agent cornerback Josh Norman, according to general manager Brandon Beane, but nothing is imminent. Norman was recently released from the Redskins and has ties to both Beane and head coach Sean McDermott from their time together with the Panthers. Norman was drafted with Beane in the Carolina front office, and he was an All-Pro with McDermott as his defensive coordinator, so a match makes sense on paper. But the former fifth-round pick in 2012 is a shell of his former Pro Bowl self and was benched late in the year in Washington in 2019. Norman played in just 12 games and recorded 40 tackles (33 solo), one sack, one forced fumble and one interception.
While the San Francisco 49ers think wide receiver Marquise Goodwin is too valuable to straight up cut, they are open to trading him, according to head coach Kyle Shanahan. Goodwin has two years left on his current deal and is scheduled to make $3.95 million in base salary in 2020 while counting $4.906 million against the salary cap. The 29-year-old played in just nine games in 2019 because of injury and had 12 catches for 186 yards and a touchdown. If he returns, he'd be competing with Jalen Hurd, Dante Pettis and Trent Taylor for a role behind Deebo Samuel in the passing attack. The 29-year-old has game-changing speed but has never played a full season in his seven years in the NFL and hasn't scored more than four TDs in a single season. He could benefit from a change of scenery but will have to rehab his fantasy value and stay healthy.
The Dallas Cowboys and Todd France, the agent for quarterback Dak Prescott, had discussions on Wednesday regarding a long-term contract extension for the first time since September of last year. The meeting didn't last long, but the Cowboys are hoping to get a long-term deal done before needing to use the franchise tag on Prescott. If Dallas can get Prescott locked up soon, they could save the franchise or transition tag for impending free-agent wide receiver Amari Cooper. Prescott put up great numbers under center in 2019 despite the Cowboys underwhelming as a whole and finishing outside of the playoff picture. One way or another he's staying put, making him a high-end QB1 entering the 2020 season for fantasy owners.
Washington Redskins impending free-agent quarterback Case Keenum is on the Cleveland Browns' radar, according to a league source. Cleveland is looking to bring in a veteran backup to Baker Mayfield that can help him grow and develop after a disappointing 2019 campaign. Drew Stanton missed all of last season with a knee injury and will be a free agent himself next month. Keenum, 32, worked with head coach Kevin Stefanski with the Vikings in 2017 when he led the team to an 11-3 record. He's thrown for 14,368 yards, 75 touchdowns and 47 interceptions for a career passer rating of 85.3, but he'd just be holding the clipboard for Mayfield in Cleveland.
Denver Broncos defensive end Bradley Chubb (knee) will not take part in organized team activities this spring, but he will be ready for training camp. Chubb, the fifth overall pick in 2018, is recovering from a torn ACL that cost him 12 games in his sophomore season. The 23-year-old wasted no time doing damage in his rookie season with 60 total tackles and 12 sacks, so he should return to being a force across from Von Miller in 2020 if he avoids the injury bug. Denver's D will likely go undrafted in standard-sized formats this year, but they could easily wind up being owned in the majority of leagues by the end of the year in head coach Vic Fangio's second season.
The Cleveland Browns are expected to pursue Chicago Bears impending free-agent quarterback Chase Daniel when free agency begins. The Browns need a strong veteran backup behind Baker Mayfield next season. Cleveland's backup last year was Drew Stanton, but he's set to be a free agent next month as well. Behind him was Garrett Gilbert. Daniel played in parts of eight games for the Bears in the last two seasons, throwing six touchdowns and four interceptions. He'd only be in the mix as a low-end QB2 if he were to sign with the Browns and Mayfield were to get hurt in 2020 and miss some time.